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An ethics blog for IP attorneys

A Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde—Former IP General Counsel and His Spouse Accused Of Racketeering, Theft In Alleged $5 Million Patent Search Billing Scheme

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | October 24, 2014

Mary and Jason Throne are not really Bonnie and Clyde. According to a recent lawsuit, however, Jason Throne, who worked for 20 years as a senior patent counsel for Hunter Douglas, and his wife Mary, carried out a fifteen-year fraudulent patent search billing scheme that might have impressed the notorious bank-robbing duo of days yonder. And […]

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After Confessing To Ethics Violation, Patent Attorney Disbarred For Commingling And Converting Client Funds

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | October 23, 2014

“If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.” – Mark Twain Give patent attorney Stephen Robinson at least a little credit – he was honest about being dishonest. The fact he self-reported his ethical violations to the Kansas Bar was not enough to save his state law license.  In re Stephen R. Robinson, No. 107,311 (Kan. Sup. Ct.). Nor […]

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Former Siemens Patent Attorney Indicted In $2.4 Million Fraudulent Billing Scheme

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | October 21, 2014

“The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.” — Gorden Gekko, Wall Street. Maybe “greed works” for some.  For Alexander James Burke, however, greed may end up being his downfall. On October 16, 2014, Burke, […]

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After a Decade of Frivolous Litigation, IP Lawyer Finally Ousted From California Bar

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | October 17, 2014

It should come as no surprise that California intellectual property lawyer Patrick Missud was disbarred for moral turpitude.  After all, Missud clogged the federal and state courts for years with frivolous lawsuits and bizarre, often outrageous, litigation conduct. On October 1, 2014, a Review Board of the State Bar Court of California adopted a hearing panel’s recommendation […]

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The Perfect Protostorm: Jury Awards Startup $8 Million For Botched Patent Application

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | October 13, 2014

Most patent malpractice cases are the result of not a single error by one person, but a combination of errors, often involving multiple individuals. Such a combination of errors led to a Virginia intellectual property firm’s failure to file its client’s, Protostorm LLC’s, patent application. The end result: on October 10, 2014, a federal judge in […]

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EXTRA EXTRA: Attorney Abides By Rules Of Professional Conduct; No Discipline Imposed

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | October 10, 2014

Attorney disciplinary matters involving illegal, immoral, incompetent, negligent, unprofessional, or unethical behavior by intellectual property practitioners are a frequent source of news in the IP media outlets. When an attorney does not violate the ethics rules, that fact, in and of itself, is rarely the subject of discussion. Then there are those rare occasions where […]

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Patent Attorney Who Lied to Client and Bar Counsel Receives Two-Month Suspension

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | October 9, 2014

“It is strange the way the ignorant and inexperienced so often and so undeservedly succeed when the informed and the experienced fail.” – Mark Twain in Eruption In the world of attorney discipline, the mental state of the attorney is an important factor in determining the type and severity of discipline bar counsel will seek. […]

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Upcoming IP Ethics Continuing Legal Education

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | October 8, 2014

Ample opportunities exist to obtain Continuing Legal Education credit in Intellectual Property Ethics. Some upcoming live events to consider: 30th Annual Institute on Intellectual Property Law, October 9-10, 2014, Galveston, Texas – The Duty of Candor in Post-Issuance Proceedings by Professor Lisa A. Dolak Intellectual Property Law Institute 2014, October 16-17, 2014, San Francisco, California […]

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Courts Sanction Patent Counsel for Litigation Misconduct–Will USPTO Discipline Be Next?

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | October 5, 2014

What happens in patent litigation does not necessarily stay in litigation.  This is especially true if a court sanctions counsel for litigation misconduct.  News about such conduct travels quickly. Inevitably, it catches the attention of a different, and potentially more dangerous, audience–the Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED).  Depending on the nature and severity of the litigation misconduct, an OED ethics investigation followed by formal charges alleging litigation counsel violated the USPTO’s Rules of […]

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Mega Firm Withdraws From Patent Infringement Suit After Former Client Alleges Conflict of Interest

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | October 1, 2014

On September 29, 2014, K&L Gates voluntarily withdrew as defendant’s counsel in a patent infringement action after the plaintiff asked a California federal district court to disqualify the Am Law 100 firm for a conflict of interest because the firm had previously represented the plaintiff regarding the same patents at issue in the litigation. See […]

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